‘I cursed Dinesh Karthik as I walked in to bat’ – R Ashwin on nervy Pakistan clash at MCG
India and Pakistan, the sub-continent rivals played out one of the greatest T20I matches ever in the Super 12s clash of the T20 World Cup 2022 in Melbourne on Sunday, with the Men in Blue winning off the last ball in a sensational finish in front of a 90,000-plus audience.
Virat Kohli played a starring role with his unbeaten 82 off 53, reviving India from 31/4 in their chase of 160 in company of Hardik Pandya, while Ravichandran Ashwin held his nerve to help India get past the finishing line in a tense finish.
Ashwin, who walked in with India needing two off the final ball, cleverly and bravely earned an extra via a wide down the leg side from Mohammad Nawaz, and chipped the final ball over mid-off to complete the winning runs. He revisited an all-time classic revealing the range of emotions he went through.
“The greatest cricket game I have played or been a part of,” Ashwin said in a video posted on his YouTube channel. “It was extremely cold that day in MCG and it was hostile. It was extremely cold for a cricket match. Even while playing, our hands got extremely numb. They posted a score and I thought if we had restricted them to 140-odd, it would have been really nice. Because the ball was moving a bit early on. But still, with the batting strength we had, I thought we would chase it down very easily.
“And just when we felt a bit relaxed after that first over of Shaheen Shah Afridi where we survived without any damage, Haris Rauf bowled a sensational spell of fast bowling.”
Ashwin further added that he almost cursed Dinesh Karthik, whose dismissal off the penultimate ball had resulted in him walking out to bat.
“Virat was so pumped up and told me where to get those run. As I walked in to bat, I cursed Dinesh Karthik for a second and then later thought, ‘No, no. We still have time, let us do what we are here for.’,” he said.
Ashwin was in all praise for Pakistan, crediting them for bringing out their “A” game, thereby setting it up for a nail-biting contest.
“Pakistan, what a side they have got! Every time we played against them in the last 4 years, they have gone from strength to strength,” he said. “They are playing some really good cricket. For that kind of epic game of cricket to happen, you need your opponent also to bring their ‘A’ game. For a fantastic game, their role is equally important. What a wonderful bowling display that was! Both Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah bowled like pros.”
India will play Netherlands in their next Super 12s encounter in Sydney on Thursday, followed by Pakistan’s clash against Zimbabwe in Perth.